I have – like many, I’m sure – struggled with depression. Hell I’ve struggled with even admitting to myself that that was what I was struggling with. Of course, hindsight is clearer than any vision you have while you’re down in it and it’s obvious to me that I’m going to be managing it for the rest of my life. I am not chemically stabilized. I refused to go to doctors for it because a) I didn’t feel I was that bad and b) I was afraid of admitting, even to myself, that there was something “wrong” with me. I blame, in part, my upbringing. I was taught not to talk about myself as it was a ‘vulgar’ thing to do. One could say, on one level that I was raised to be an upper middle class snob. I’m sure that’s how it came off in some circles, but was considered “manners” in my own family. Of course, my mother has been doing some self-discovery of her own and apologized for several aspects of my upbringing, which got me thinking. Ask me about myself, and I will tell you any number of facts – probably too many, but start asking about the real me and I all of a sudden get vague. I love people who never prevaricate, who are genuine and say what they mean and mean what they say because that was something I felt I lacked for so long. I never felt good enough, or interesting enough to hold my own, so I had no opinions or at least never offered them until I had discerned where my companions own opinions lay in order to avoid conflict. I equated conflict (even disagreeing on something) as a negative mark against my personality.
Events seemed to compound my conviction that I wasn’t perfectly good as I was. I even went so far as to alter myself in order to be loved. I don’t think my first few boyfriends – or even the man I almost married had the benefit of knowing the real me.
I contemplated suicide but I realised those same obligations that got me out of bed would keep me alive – and that it was a cowardly way out. I dabbled in risky relationships. I drank too much. I ate too much. Frankly, only my sense of obligation to my partner and my job, to other people got me out of bed in the morning. I went through the motions, made stupid decisions and then came home and went to sleep again. Figuratively, or actually, it didn’t matter which. Escapism dominated a large portion of my waking hours.
Then I woke up one morning and I’d had enough. I was tired. Granted I was tired before, but this time, I was tired of being tired. I was tired of being sick, of being fat, of being a liar and lied to. And I thought; the only one who can change this is me. I can’t expect someone else to do this for me. Then I looked in the mirror; at that same ugly face that has looked back at me for years and thought: this is not going to be easy. And I almost gave up right there and went back to bed.
So I took a deep breath. Start small, I told myself. What can I do now to make myself feel better that doesn’t involve eating half a chocolate cake or drinking before noon? What can I do that doesn’t involve sitting at the computer or cracking a book?
I went for a walk… and I’m still walking.
listening to: Awolnation – Sail
Drinking: jasmine tea
reading: Fever Pitch – Nick Hornby
wrote today: 613 words